SMASH-and-grab raiders who target jewellers in Lancashire will be showered with an anti-crime spray as they flee, thanks to a revolutionary new device.
Three firms in Darwen, East Lancashire, are being fitted with the equipment, which emits a water-like mist to coat thieves in the act.
The liquid, which shows up under UV light and cannot be washed off, comes from an aerosol which has its own DNA code, enabling police to identify which shop it has come from. It can be triggered by a panic button in a shop or set like an alarm overnight should anyone break in.
The Lancashire Partnership Against Crime (LANPAC), a charitable organisation which supports crime prevention and community safety schemes, is behind the initiative after securing £50,000 funding from the Home Office.
The funds are being used for various community safety projects to deter burglary from up to 100 small retail outlets in vulnerable areas of Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Burnley, Pendle and Preston.
PC Simon Harwood of Darwen neighbourhood policing, said: “The SelectaDNA spray is harmless and it won’t stain, but you won’t be able to scrub it off hair, skin or clothing. If shoppers or staff happen to be covered in this, then it’s okay because you won’t be able to see it, and they have no reason to worry.
“But as soon as we pick up the culprit, it will be immediately obvious to us if they have been in a particular shop at a particular time. It’s a deterrent.”
The devices are being fitted in Whitehead’s Jewellers in Market Street, Gold and Times jewellers in Darwen Market Hall, and Edgworth Post Office.
Janet Hughes, who works for Whitehead’s, said: “We don’t have major problems in our shop, but having a sign warning it is in use will be a big deterrent.”
PC Harwood added: “We only have two jewellers in Darwen, which already have good CCTV systems, but the SelectaDNA product is a new tool that may help encourage a criminal to think twice.”
For further information and images contact: Angela Singleton, Press Officer for Selectamark.
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